What? A post on Tuesday? I know. I realize I'm a little off on my posting, but I finished "Eleanor and Park" just a mere 12 hours ago, and figured I needed to speak about it IMMEDIATELY.
via Rainbow Rowell's official website
Well, if you know nothing about "Eleanor and Park", here is the summary (straight from the author, Rainbow Rowell, herself!):
"Set over the course of one school year in 1986, Eleanor & Park is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under."
Juicy, right? Ha. Let's just say, Rainbow Rowell knows how to write a good love story. You're quickly pulled into a high school romance. And, from my experience as a high schooler (many moons ago..), all I can really remember about love at the time was that it was urgent. Every kiss felt harsh or quick - because inevitably, someone's dad was going to walk in. Every hug felt embarrassing or forbidden - because, most likely, it was in front of your mother, who had come to pick you up from church or something. And that's how Rowell's E&P made me feel. It brought back those instances when you had to make everything quick because you didn't know how long you had before someone else walked in the room.
(if my mother happens to read this, I didn't do anything I wouldn't tell you about..just so you know!)
Rowell introduces the characters and they're as different as they come, which is always a little off putting to me. Every YA novel tries to pair the geeky girl with the cool boy - which hardly happens in real life, but she did it subtly - and with the maturing of her characters. Much like people grow up and change in real life, she grew Eleanor into someone. She grew Park into someone else. And they complimented each other - much like many of her YA counterparts do. I'm not complaining, because in real life, I know that opposites attract. They do. I believe that.
Eleanor is seen as this large character. She has bright red (fire engine!) hair, an eclectic wardrobe (which happens in part because of her poor home life), and walls thrown up. She isn't one that you get to know right away. She's the outsider. (oh how authors love a good outsider!)
Park is smaller. He, a Korean-American, is seen more on the feminine side of the spectrum. He reads comic books and keeps to himself - but is still in the high school mix of popularity - just because he has lived there his whole life.
They don't mix. They're not supposed to, but in some way - they're attracted to each other like magnets. And everything seems forced..urgent, like I said earlier. Well, as urgent as anything can be, with Eleanor's off putting personality and her almost critical need to put up walls. Which you'll eventually come to realize that some of those walls are justifiable - but not always needed.
And coming from the girl who has, for a few years now, become a person with walls - not all are needed. But, all it takes is one person to try scaling those walls - and they come down. Brick by brick..slowly..but they come down just the same.
With Park, Eleanor lets him in. Situations arise and he has the chance to become the knight in shining armor. But one of my favorite things about this story is that Park is changed as well. They save each other. Which, yes, sounds incredibly cheesy and unreal, but it happens. Deal with it.
All in all, I loved it - and would very much recommend it to anyone. Everyone. And some of my favorite quotes (just to tease you into reading!) are:
Do me and yourself a favor and read this one. You won't regret it.